In one of the tweets for my previous blog, I asked if you were willing to hug a spider. That was not a random aside.

Before we get carried away with the ‘soft’ side of the K’Nough, a reminder of who we’re talking about:

“Before you go, you should know the K’Nough have a policy of fighting intruders to the death, so be careful.”

 Caspillian

The K’Nough has an unusual history in that not only are they the mortal enemy of all human life (it seems), but they were also pets.

Today, people do have spiders for pets.  And while they (the pet spiders) are much larger than most spiders, they typically aren’t dangerous or aggressive. The K’Nough mainly differ from your typical ‘pet’ spider with their size and lifespan.  We’ll get to both of those a little later.  The focus, for now, is the idea of a ‘Pet’ K’Nough.

How do you Pet a K’Nough?

I don’t want you to dismiss the danger the K’Nough pose, just because some people made pets of them.  In a way, that could easily be why they’re dangerous.  I mention that because when I was developing the book, I was wondering what type of ‘enemy’ I would want the K’Nough to be.  What would be their motives to attack Richard and even other humans?  That was when the idea of them being pets came to the fore.

A race of wronged pets, traveling through space seeking vengeance.  Or something like that, I don’t remember.  It didn’t really convey much in the way of depth.

So, like everyone else, I created them a history.  Where do they come from? What is their first contact with humans, and how did that go?  When did they move from being a cuddly pet to a creature flying massive battleships and causing havoc for humans? Just think about what I just asked there for a moment.

Here is a passage that encapsulates that very question:

“What is that?” Richard mutters to himself, stepping closer.
The glowing sphere then jumps to the planet… Jennifer too jumping up as it passes through the planet. Her hands cover her face as the planet begins to collapse.  Jennifer then turns to walk away, stopping quickly to face Samantha. “Permission to …” her voice cracks, her eyes watering as Samantha nods to her.  They watch as Jennifer walks to the back of the tent, still covering her face as she proceeds.
“The lieutenant gets very emotional about this type of thing. She actually thinks the baby K’Nough are cute.” Samantha states. “I have to admit I think they are, too.”

Richard, Jennifer & Samantha

Despite the threat, they can still be cute.  I would like to point to a few facts that I probably won’t share exhaustively in the books regarding the K’Nough, but will help put things in perspective with this enemy:

-They are very large

I wanted to find a picture of the largest spider on earth, and I did!  But, I lost it before publication, so if I find it later I will add it here:

(Picture of VERY LARGE SPIDER!!!!!!!!!)

This spider is smaller than the newly born children of the K’Nough.  My notes say a leg span of roughly 1 meter, a thorax (I know there’s a technical name for it because it is a fusion of what would be the neck and thorax, but I do not want to always write for Scientific American. look at the Wiki here) about the size of a cantaloupe, and an abdomen the size of a rugby ball.  My notes say the mature female has a leg span of roughly 23 meters, standing at least 6 meters tall.  The males were about 80 percent of the size of the females, though they were typically the more aggressive compared to the female K’Nough. I’m thinking from my notes I saw them as a type of tarantula, but I don’t have drawn pictures; only written descriptions.

I don’t want you to think that there is a specific type of spider modeled for the K’Nough, or that I sought them to have behavior peculiar to spiders.  They may, but that wasn’t by design.

-They live a long time

As you will see as the series progresses, time is highly relative. Not in the ‘time doesn’t move in the same direction’ or ‘time has no indiscretions’ sense of the word. It’s more the ‘time is short’ sense of the word.

For example, my estimation of the time to maturity of a K’Nough is in the thousands of years.  Their time as what we would think of as ‘childhood,’ proceeding ‘adolescence’ still is in the hundreds of years.  So, unlike a pet we would own that would likely die well within our lifetime, a ‘pet’ K’Nough would be more like an inheritance passed from family member to family member.

Till it tried to kill you.  Probably not a good thing, the ‘pet’ wanting vengeance and acting on it. But, it also seemed in my notes they didn’t reproduce rapidly.  But, I would point out that this is relative to perhaps our reproduction rate.  After all, if a female K’Nough reproduced like a typical spider but only every what, 500 years? But each litter was 900 1-meter rugby-cantaloupes with long legs and a poor disposition, would it matter? In 500 years, your family would definitely need a head start on having a higher headcount than them! On the other hand, if they’re valuable, a single litter could set your family up for generations to come.

A lot of ways to look at this ‘pet.’  The first book didn’t have a chance to cover as much as I hoped with the K’Nough, especially why they are so dangerous to the Tyberian Empire. Such that the ship Richard is given is built for that reason:

Ana looks up staring toward the distant horizon of the planet they orbit. “This is incredible,” she remarks. “How could a capitol ship afford to have such a view?”
Tess steps forward. “We’re actually still in the hanger. The main bay doors, where the battleships come in, are open.” She spreads her arms wide as she steps toward the view. “This is the first naval constellation we built for the future guardian of the crown.”
Maice steps forward. “This ship is large enough to have a battleship dock within it?”
Tess nods. “And six corvettes!” She walks slowly toward the center of the room. “Not counting the fighter squadrons.”
Maice shakes his head. “This isn’t merely a capitol ship. This is some kind of mobile battle platform.” He looks at Tess. “Who are you people at war with?”
Tess frowns. “Nobody. Why?”
He points to the open hangar doors. “Why would your people need something like this if you are at peace?” Maice insists.
Tess folds her arms. “There are worlds on the other side of the unified territories that actively dispute our boundaries. While we would prefer a more peaceful alternative,” she sighs, “the K’Nough won’t have it any other way.”
Maice nods in agreement. “That is true.”

Ana, Tess & Maice

 

The K’Nough are such a threat to the Tyberian Empire, most of their defenses center on matching or countering their threat.  It seems this ‘pet’ has gotten quite dangerous.  Speaking of that defense, let’s touch on the ships and weapons in this novel and the series.  But before we do, I’ll have to talk about myself again.  I know, this comes up a lot, but it’s that time of the month for me.


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